NASA Mars rover spots dusty weather blowing across the Martian desert – Mashable

Martian weather is awfully dusty.
A camera aboard NASA’s Mars Curiosity rover — a car-sized robot that’s explored the planet for nearly a decade — recently spotted a dusty wind gust blowing over the red desert.
You can see the weather in the footage below, which was captured by one of the machine’s Hazard-Avoidance Cameras, or Hazcams. The top image shows the Hazcam footage, while the bottom shows frames processed (with “change detection software”) to help visualize how the gust moved.
Mars rovers have snapped dust devils churning across the desert before. But NASA researchers think this latest burst of dust is a windy gust. “Scientists believe it’s a wind gust rather than a dust devil since it doesn’t appear to have the trademark vorticity, or twisting, of a dust devil,” NASA explained.
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Sometimes, Mars experiences extreme, long-lived dusty weather events, like dust storms. These storms can be huge, but they’re also normal. “Every year there are some moderately big dust storms that pop up on Mars and they cover continent-sized areas and last for weeks at a time,” explained Michael Smith, a planetary scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center.
And around every five years or so, a truly monstrous dust storm can encompass much of the planet.
In this dusty world, the Curiosity rover continues to gradually climb a region called Mount Sharp, which is a peak inside Mars’ Gale crater. The NASA robot seeks to determine if the planet could have ever been habitable enough for tiny microbes to thrive, perhaps in the moist soils of lakebeds or streams.
So far, there’s no evidence of life existing anywhere beyond our extremely biodiverse planet, Earth.


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